Joyce Carol Oates – Lovely, Dark, Deep

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I wasn’t a reader of short stories, but then I came across a story by Joyce Carol Oates in a podcast. The story is also part of this collection, which made me buy this book. After I had heard the story on the podcast I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I came back to it in my mind, even after several days had passed. I then ordered the book and felt the same way about most of the stories in this collection. I haven’t read anything quite like it this year. Only Eileen Chang touched me as much. My problem with short stories had always been that I felt I couldn’t connect with the characters in short pieces, in this collection however this wasn’t a problem at all. The characters seemed so real, I felt so close to them when I was reading the stories. I think because we only get a glimpse of their lives I kept coming back to them in my mind, wondering what would happen to them. Oates has a very specific way of writing, it is almost hypnotic in the way she draws you into these haunting situations. I also really liked the way she portrayed the relationship between women and men, it didn’t seem easy or clear cut and certainly not all female characters were likable (and why should they?) I felt that Oates was aware of the particular struggles that women have in comparison to men. So even if some women in the book were loosing a power struggle with a man, there was still a feminist statement somewhere in there. I really enjoyed this book and would love to read more by her. After every story I felt that it meant so much to me and I was glad I had read it.

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